Amanda M. Jones
Texas State University – San Marcos
Previous research shows a relationship between helping behaviors and attractiveness. Multiple operational definitions are available for attractiveness and helping behaviors. The presented study measures clothing and giving directions. The hypothesis of the study was that researchers would receive more detailed directions when dressed attractively versus unattractively. To test this hypothesis, researchers dressed attractively or unattractively and asked 100 random individual on campus for directions to a nearby building. Results did not support the hypothesis. Number of steps provided in the directions and time spent giving directions did not differ based on the requester’s attractiveness. Our study provided insight on taking a definition of attractiveness and applying it towards helping behaviors, and how expanding the variables could provide significant data.
Effect of Being Well Dressed on Length of Time Spent Giving Directions
The way human beings perceive attractiveness differs between each person and their preferences. There are broad topics of what people consider attractive. People’s hair color, accessory or clothing choices can make others perceive them as either attractive or unattractive. Society has laid the ground work down for what defines an attractive person and culture has come to admire and respect the eye-catching people over less attractive ones. Aesthetic attributes such as how nice neat clothing looks versus disheveled clothing can influence how someone perceives a person at first glance. However one defines attractive however, it still influences people’s willingness to help others. There are many different helping behaviors to look at when researching attractiveness. The study presented looks at the effects of being attractive and how it influences one’s willingness to help.
Whether or not a person is willing to display certain helping behaviors can be influenced by certain factors. Saucier, Miller and Doucet (2005) looked at race relations between white and black people and how racism plays a role in helping behaviors. While race was not an immediate factor in choosing to help others, they found that when helping the other person required more effort and took longer, less help was given to black people than white people. This same bias was found when emergency help was requested. In Skolnick’s (1977) study, he looked at how time of day and location could influence how willing drivers were to help participants stranded on the side of road. Help was given faster during day time and more help was given on a rural deserted road than a busy one. Jacob and Gueguen’s (2012) study looked at altruism quotes and their influence on whether tips are given. Those who were given quotes beforehand tipped more money to their waiter versus those who did not. While server gender was measured, it did not have a significant impact on tipping. Another factor that can be used with helping behavior is attractiveness.
There are many kinds of everyday helping behaviors available to measure. Wilson and Dovidio (1985) looked at whether peoples differing views in social and politics issues had impacted helping behaviors. Female confederates of varying attractiveness asked people for change for a dollar. Females who were dressed attractively and held feminist views were helped less often than attractive women who displayed no specific political views. In contrast, unattractive women’s political views did not influence rates of helping behavior. For all three kinds of confederates however, giving a reason for requesting the change influenced the rate of helping behavior. The study used more than just attractiveness to measure helping behaviors, including political stances and reasoning the request for the change. In another study looking at attractiveness and helping behavior,